Lukas Podolski scored both goals Sunday to give three-time champion Germany a perfect start at the European Championship with a 2-0 win over his native Poland, which remained winless against the Germans.
Podolski was born in Poland but came to Germany and took citizenship. Normally a striker, Podolski got to start as a left midfielder and justified the selection by scoring in the 20th minute. Mario Gomez flicked the ball through the defense to Miroslav Klose, who squared to Podolski with goalkeeper Artur Boruc scrambling to get back.
In the 73rd, Bastian Schweinsteiger shook off a half-hearted challenge by Pawel Golanski and fed Klose, who mis-kicked the ball but it bounced to Podolski, who volleyed it in from close range.
Gomez did better in setting up his teammates than finishing himself. Early in the game, Klose used a perfect through ball from Michael Ballack to feed Gomez, but the striker could not prod the ball it in despite sliding at the far post. Later, he collected a good cross from Clemens Fritz but shot wide. Klose, with his back to to the net, tried to touch the ball in but missed.
Poland, winless against Germany in 15 previous games, came out with determination and ambition to wipe out 75 years of frustration and nearly scored a couple of minutes into the match. Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann collided with central defender Per Mertesacker and the ball rolled to Jacek Krzynowek, but his shot went high.
Wojciech Lobodzinski, who sent several useful crosses from the right in the first half, found Maciej Zuravski in the 36th, but he drove his volley way over the crossbar.
With Germany seeking to secure victory, Philipp Lahm charged down the right and crossed to Ballack, who sent a volley but Boruc made a tremendous save by tipping the ball over with his left hand in the 70th.
In the other Group B game, Croatia beat co-host Austria 1-0 in Vienna.
Germany: Jens Lehmann; Philipp Lahm, Christoph Metzelder, Per Mertesacker, Marcell Jansen, Clemens Fritz (Bastian Schweinsteiger, 55), Michael Ballack, Torsten Frings, Lukas Podolski, Mario Gomez (Thomas Hitzlsperger, 75th), Miroslav Klose (Kevin Kuranyi, 90).
Poland: Artur Boruc, Pawel Golanski (Marek Saganowski, 75), Jacek Bak, Michal Zewlakow, Marcin Wasilewski, Jacek Krzynowek, Dariusz Dudka, Mariusz Lewandowski, Wojciech Lobodzinski (Lukasz Piszczek, 65), Euzebiusz Smomlarek, Maciej Zurawski (Roger Guerreiro, 45).